March 10, 2006
March 10, 2006
March 13, 2006
Welcome to The Joy Of Painting; Episode One …The Return Of The Sith. I am your host, Dennis Jones, and this week I will be walking you through one of my recent jobs from start to finish.
The telephone rings. I answer. It is a client asking if I have time to do a job for them. I say sure, what do you have. They proceed to give me a brief explanation of the assignment. The company has purchased an outer space photograph of the earth and want to turn it into a poster for upper elementary age kids. All they want me to do is put a simple border around the photograph so that it looks like the viewer is looking at the earth through a satellite window. I say “sounds good, send it on”, and hang up the phone.
I receive the job the following day via FedX. Among other things the envelope contains (1) a letter from the designer explaining exactly what they want (2) a color copy of the satellite photo (3) a CD with a digital file of the satellite photo to use when I get into Photoshop.
As I look through this information I start to think this poster would look much more exciting if there were at least a couple of kids looking out the window …maybe in space suits …and a monkey …a space monkey. This of course is not what the client has asked for. Before I spend too much time heading in this direction I decide it might be wise to run this by my client first. I attach a sketch (pictured above) to an email and send it to them asking if perhaps they might like to use my slightly different idea instead of their original one.
Will my client go for this different idea? Is this concept just a little too far removed from the original assignment? Do they have some sort of problem with space monkeys? Find out in tomorrows exciting second episode of …The Joy Of Painting!
March 14, 2006
To recap yesterdays exciting episode; …my client has sent me a very simple art request to execute. Instead of just following the directions I have changed the concept (just a little) and am now waiting to see if they will approve my idea or reject it.
The fax machine fires up in my studio. I’m getting something from my client. What will be their response? The fax says the editors loved the new direction, proceed with these three revisions…
(1) No white space suits or space helmets. Put the kids in black jump suits, something similar to Mission Impossible black ops gear. This will not be a problem.
(2) Insert some ethnic diversity into the poster. I am only using two characters here, so I will make one of them with light skin tone and the other with a darker skin tone. This will not be a problem.
(3) No space monkeys. This will be a huge problem …because I really wanted to do a space monkey …I am now depressed …but they say I can do a robot instead …so I am now happy again.
I work up the finished pencil drawing (pictured above) and indicate on it in writing that the two characters are different colors, make sure the kids are in black jump suits, and add a robot in the corner where my beloved space monkey once dwelled. I attach this sketch to an email and send it back to my client for approval, which they give.
It is now time to start painting, but what pitfalls await me there? Will the color work go smoothly, or will I accidentally shoot myself in the foot by trying to do something exotic? Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode of …The Joy Of Painting!
March 15, 2006
To recap yesterdays exciting episode; …my client has given me the go ahead on my pencil sketch, so I am now ready to paint the illustration.
Using a light table I re-pencil the sketch onto a piece of watercolor paper. I get out my palette of gouache, some fresh water and try to determine what the best approach will be to get color onto this picture. I decide to lay down a wash of cool colors over the entire page first, and then come back and “paint up” the detail. That will be my game plan on this one.
It is fun throwing caution to the wind and slopping paint all over the paper (first picture) but as I try to “paint up” the detail I begin to struggle. This is a little different than my normal approach and I begin to wonder if I have made a big mistake doing it this way. I also begin to sweat bullets. This must be the same feeling a cowboy has when trying to break a bucking bronco. At first he probably wonders why he ever climbed onto its back, but after the horse calms down he must feel a great sense of accomplishment. After about thirty minutes of riding this illustration I find a painting groove, fall into it and get the job painted out. (second picture)
I now need to scan the artwork into my computer to finish the poster. I have a large format scanner, but the illustration is larger than my scanner bed, so I take two scans of the picture (the top and the bottom) and then piece them together in Photoshop.
There were some really tense moments during the painting process, but nothing to compare with the anxiety that was waiting for me as I started working in Photoshop. Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode of The Joy Of Painting!
March 16, 2006
To recap yesterdays exciting episode; …after a brief struggle in the painting process I finish the artwork and scan it into my computer.
Inside Photoshop I clean out the “window” area, open up the digital file of the photograph and insert it. The photograph is smaller than my window (picture 1) but this should not be a problem. I have used the color copy the client sent of the photograph and built the artwork directly on top of it, so I know proportionally everything is going to line up. All I have to do is enlarge the photograph.
I enlarge the photograph (picture 2) but things do not fall into place. I sit and look at the computer screen with my mouth open. This is not a good thing. What is going on here? I try stretching the picture down (picture 3) but this hides key elements of the photograph and the white icecaps at the bottom of the photograph do not work at all with the artwork. I try a total distortion in a last ditch effort to force things to work (picture 4) but this makes Europe huge, North America narrow, and Australia disappears. I dont think my client will go for that.
Something has gone terribly wrong. I grab the color copy of the photograph, put it under my artwork, throw it on the light table and look at it again. Everything lines up and is in perfect place. So how come it doesnt work in… oh… I know now… the color copy they sent is not the same size as the digital file they sent me to work with. Copy machines are notorious for either stretching or condensing an image as they print, and that is what has happened here. My artwork is in the wrong place because the color copy was not accurate. I have diagnosed the problem, but not a solution.
Will I be able to pull a rabbit out of my hat on this one or will it be back to the drawing board for a second try on this? Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode of The Joy Of Painting!
March 17, 2006
To recap yesterdays exciting episode; …I have built a piece of artwork that is to be used as a frame for a photograph of the earth and it doesnt fit.
I am feeling really bad about this entire situation. All my client asked me to do was create a simple border to go around their $800.00 photograph. I convinced them that I could insert characters into the ocean areas and make it a much better poster. Now I am sitting in the middle of a disaster.
I decide my only hope is to manipulate the photograph (top left). Without getting too technical, I scale the image to a size that will show all the continents, erase the white icecaps at the top and the bottom, add a blue background and clone stamp transitional areas to create a workable image (top right). I place this into the window of my illustration and then darken my artwork by 10% so that it will not fight with the photograph for dominance.
I package everything up with a brief note of explanation, put it in the mail, and hold my breath. Will my client go for my solution to this problem? They may have some real issues with the way I manipulated their photograph. I could very easily be working on this project again… from scratch.
Two days later I get an email from the client… Dennis, we received your package… loved it… do you have time to do three more posters for us?
October 12, 2006
The extremely popular, critically acclaimed “Joy Of Painting” series will make it’s long awaited, highly anticipated season premier next week on this channel. Last seasons debut episode was a roller coaster ride of nonstop painting action. Unlike some “other” shows that just tease us with dinosaurs eating people, this Joy Of Painting assignment takes place on a lost island somewhere in the Pacific where there are actual dinosaurs eating actual people.
October 16, 2006
Welcome to The Joy Of Painting; Episode Two …Attack Of The Clones. I am your host, Dennis Jones, and this week I will be walking you through one of my recent jobs from start to finish.
A damaged R2 Unit mysteriously arrives at my doorstep. I notice that something seems to be lodged in it’s Plaskon T-2000 Globulator, so I pry it out with my screwdriver. A hologram of a client instantly appears and pleads with me to do a poster for her. I feel sorry for the hologram girl because she is obviously having a bad hair day, so I say, “sure, I’ll do a poster for you.” A few days later the assignment arrives in the mail.
Some folks are very specific with their art direction, others… not so much. This particular job came with a rough attached (pictured above) for me to work from. I understood the concept, but the prospect of drawing a bunch of pipes and test tubes was not very exciting. I immediately began trying to come up with ways to change their idea. This, (of course), is where I usually… well… almost always… get myself into trouble.
I put their rough on the floor of my studio and decide to just walk around it for a few days while I work on other jobs. Perhaps time will supply me with the revelation I need to tweak this job into something I will enjoy doing a bit more.
Will the Force be with young Joneswalker on this project? Will inspiration magically pop up out of nowhere just like the hologram did? Or is something much darker lurking in his future? Find out in tomorrows exciting second episode of …The Joy Of Painting!
October 17, 2006
To recap yesterdays exciting episode; …my client has sent me a very simple art request. All I have to do is follow their rough layout (pictured above). Instead, I am trying to think up a way to change their concept (just a little) as to make it just a bit more entertaining for me to work on.
For several days I continue to walk by and look at my clients rough as it lays on the studio floor. Then it hits me, this is just like one of those old Rube Goldberg cartoons. I fire up the Google search engine, find Rube’s work on the internet, and pull down a photo or two (pictured above) for reference. I now have a direction I like and am ready to tweak my clients idea.
Today’s exciting episode was really, really short. Will tomorrows episode be any longer? …or any more exciting? Find out in tomorrows really, really exciting, much longer third episode of …The Joy Of Painting!
October 18, 2006
To recap yesterdays exciting episode; …I have come up with a way to tweak my clients assignment into something I will enjoy doing a bit more than their original idea. I’m going to turn it into a Rube Goldberg tribute piece.
[warning] Changing a clients assignment is, (of course), always a really bad idea. [end of disclaimer, on with thrilling story]
My first task is to figure out how this illustration might work as a Rube Goldberg cartoon. I roughly sketch out an idea (first picture), decide this is probably as good as anything I’m going to come up with, and proceed to work out the finished drawing (second picture). I attach that to an email and send it to my client for approval. This is a risky move. It is not exactly what they have asked for and I have invested a lot of time to get to this point in the process.
Will my Jedi mind tricks work? Is this concept just a little too far removed from their original assignment? Do they have some sort of problem with Rube Goldberg Tributes? Find out in tomorrows exciting fourth episode of …The Joy Of Painting!